State GMO labeling laws present challenging legal questions

Washington State GMO labeling initiative to go to the voters in a November ballot strict xxl
via Big Think


Can the states bypass the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration to oversee labeling when it comes to GMO?

Any GMO labeling measures that might pass at the state level could pose legal problems, writes Todd Janzen, attorney at Plews Shadley Racher and Braun, LLP. Currently, the FDA does not require a label for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. California and Washington voters rejected GMO labeling laws, but other states have introduced similar ballot measures and various legislatures are also considering measures. Because federal law trumps state law on most issues, Janzen writes, if the Fed does not pass a law mandating GMO labeling, states more than likely cannot “usurp that power by creating their own labeling requirements.”

A mandatory GMO labeling law may also violate the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, Janzen writes:

 If Washington state, for example, requires that tortilla chips made with GMO corn state so on the label, suddenly tortilla chips made and bagged in Indiana with GMO corn (and containing the FDA required label) could not be sold in Washington. Would the delivery trucks be turned away at Washington state’s border?  Does Washington have the right to ban the sale of Indiana corn chips?  The Interstate Commerce Clause was put into our constitution to avoid that problem…Individual states cannot stop the flow of commerce, nor would we want them to.

Read the full, original story here: “Todd Janzen: State GMO Labeling Laws Present Unanswered Legal Questions”

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